The Christmas season can mess people up. I've seen it happen my whole life. From that minute in mid-November when the first Budweiser Clydesdale trots through the snow on your television screen, emotions run rampant, covering everything from joy and happiness to melancholy and dread. A couple of verses of "Silver Bells" and people are either sipping eggnog or crying their eyes out, and depending on the type of eggnog, doing both simultaneously, wishing desperately for January 2nd to just get the hell here, already.
Stress levels are high, brought on by the unnecessary. At no other point during the calendar year, do we feel we absolutely have to buy something, be somewhere and act a certain way otherwise all hope is lost. (Okay, that's not quite accurate, but it still really isn't what Christmas is all about.)
You can't talk about the down side of the Christmas season without being labelled a Scrooge. But there is a down side, plain and simple. It doesn't work for everyone. There's nothing wrong with that. But there is something wrong with letting a small stretch of time get the best of you. Because then, it will get the best of someone else. And that line of misery will no doubt grow. All for what? A few days in December? A giant ham? A huge party on the last night of the year that most would have no desire to be at the other 364 days of the year?
I have a friend who lost her husband to cancer a little over ten years ago. It took awhile before she was able to live life again, but she does. She is healthy. She has friends. She goes out dancing. She travels. She even has a companion she sees a few times a month. Yet on December 1st, I see her unhappily decorating the front of her house with a Christmas wreath and garland, in a painfully obligatory manner. Without prompting, she offered this. "I'd much rather shoot myself than have to deal with Christmas music." I would imagine it has something to do with missing her husband. But what I find wrong with this picture is the fact that she probably misses him all year round and still functions, but just hearing "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear" makes the hurt, hurt more.
I have had good holidays and bad. Occasionally, family and friends don't jive. But, many times they do. I don't believe I am offering up anything you haven't heard before. But unfortunately, there is a reason to bring it up every year. I see family members still not speaking to each other. I see friends destroying long time bonds. I see people bustling about because they have to and not because they want to. I am not an innocent party. I have a problem doing what we think we are supposed to do as opposed to what we want to do. But sometimes we haven't the choice. And it feels better taking the high road.
I propose that we all try our best to take the high road. Because in the end, we're all we've got. And most of us are pretty great.
Come January 2nd, the ache of Christmas and "Auld Lang Syne" will have disappeared. New aches will begin, but somehow those everyday nuisances are easier to handle without "Jingle Bell Rock" on repeat. Embrace this time of year. Make the best of it. Call someone and make them feel good. It will make you feel good. Because in the blink of an eye, it will be Christmas all over again and you will feel worse having lost all that time in between, being angry for the wrong reasons.